Summary/Disclaimer: None of this is owned by me. (HA! I wish…). Stephenie Meyer created the world of Twilight. I just like to visit and make them do pervy things, like have sex and swear.
Normally, I'm not one to beg for reviews, but I'd like some more loving with this story…I'm not feeling it. Wah…Please?
Chapter Twelve: Parents
"Bella, are you sure about us leaving the hotel?" Edward asked, his lips pulled into a worried grimace. In between his brows, there was a furrow indicating that he was stressed. Was he okay with us going to his parents' home? "I don't want to take you to my old house and have it be swarmed by the paparazzi."
"Edward, I'm fine with leaving," I said as I finished packing my bags. "Staying in the rental for two weeks and then the hotel for another week, makes me long for a night at home. Going to your house in Chicago sounds perfect. Where is it located?"
"Highland Park," Edward replied. The phone rang in the hotel room and he picked up. "Hello? Yes, thank you. We'll be right down." He hung up the phone and turned to me. "The car's here. You have everything?"
"Yeah," I replied. I picked up my carry on, slinging it over my shoulder. Edward finagled our suitcases as we left the hotel room that we stayed in for the week. It was an amazing week. No one bothered us. No drama. It was just us. Well, just us in all our kinky splendor. I'd never met someone who was kinky about sex as me. There was no surface left untouched by our sexual shenanigans. The entire suite was defiled. Multiple times. Edward definitely had a sexy, raw, unbridled passion about him and I loved it. I loved him. Everything about him.
So fucking much.
We checked out of the hotel and got into the rental car. Edward was smart, renting a large SUV. With the help of the bellman, we loaded the back of the SUV with our luggage and pulled away. He expertly drove through the traffic of Chicago, reaching Lake Shore Drive. "You okay?" I asked. "You seem tense."
"It's been awhile since I've been to my childhood home. I pay for someone to keep it up but, it's sat empty since I moved out nearly ten years ago with Uncle Carlisle and Aunt Esme," he said quietly. "Plus, this is going to sound weird, but when we get there, I don't know where we're going to sleep. It seems odd to stay in my parents' room since they have a king-sized bed but my room only has a full-sized bed."
"Gives me more reason to cuddle with you," I said, twining my fingers with his.
He blushed and smiled at me warmly. "You'd be the first girl I ever brought into my childhood bedroom, dolcezza," he cooed. Then, his face fell. Sadness filled his golden eyes and he turned to gaze out the windshield, gripping the steering wheel tightly.
"Edward? What is it?"
"Nothing," he said tersely.
"Okay," I said in a tiny voice, hurt by his sudden change of mood. I pulled my feet up to my chest, staring out the window, watching as the lake to my right flew by. The drive to the house was filled with tension. Edward obviously wasn't comfortable being at his parents' home. It was my desire to sleep in a bed, in his house, that forced us to check out of the hotel. Now, Edward was upset. At me? At his parents? I couldn't tell you but I hated the distance between us.
After an hour on the road, Edward pulled into a quiet neighborhood. Inside, we wound through the tree-lined streets until we arrived at a fairly large brick home toward the back of the subdivision. He pulled into the driveway, parking the SUV. He got out of the car and punched in a few numbers into the remote garage door opener. It creaked up and Edward pulled inside of the garage.
The tension just grew inside of the car as Edward sighed. "Come on, Bella," he breathed, sounding exhausted and drawn.
Fix this, Swan. You wanted this and now, Edward's pissed at you.
Edward maneuvered our bags, carrying them into the house using a set a keys in his pocket. I bit back tears as I followed him with our carry-ons. However, I barely got inside when I ran into a wall of Edward. He had stopped just inside of the house, panting erratically.
"Edward?" I whispered, putting my hand on his back.
"It's too much," he choked out, spinning around me and out through the garage door. I moved the bags from the middle of the room and followed him. He was sitting on the steps in the garage, his head buried in his hands. His sobs were heart wrenching.
"Baby," I said sympathetically, sitting next to him. Gingerly, I put my arms around his shaking form, holding him as best I could. "I'm sorry, Edward. We can go back to the hotel if you can't…"
"No, I have to," he muttered miserably. "The reason why I haven't been back is because of this reaction. It was too painful to come back. The last time I stepped foot in this house was the afternoon after my parents' funeral. As weird as it sounds, it still smells like them."
"Edward, baby," I cooed, holding him tightly.
"You probably think I'm weak and worthless," Edward spat, shrugging me off his body. There were tears streaming down his pale skin. "Crying like a fucking baby because of god damned house!"
"You're not weak and worthless," I whispered. "Edward, I haven't even been to my mother's grave. She was the one person who loved me unconditionally. Well, before you." That's if you still love me. I'll understand if you don't.
Edward looked at me. His eyes were red rimmed and puffy, but filled with love. "Dolcezza, I'm sorry for turning into an emo freak. I'm also sorry for being such an ass today," he frowned. His arms wrapped around me, kissing my forehead.
"You have every reason to be," I soothed, running my hand through his dyed dark brown locks. I missed his bronze hair. It was so warm and him. Staring into his golden eyes, I pursed my lips. "Do you want to stay?"
"I do," he murmured, staring into my eyes. His hand cupped my face and he leaned forward, brushing his lips against mine. With a heavy sigh, Edward stood up, offering me his hand. Twining our fingers together, we walked back into the house. The room that Edward had freaked out in was the laundry room. It was white and had a top of the line set of machines. "I forgot I had purchased new machines for in here."
"This may sound stupid, but why?" I asked. "It's not like you were living here."
He laughed humorlessly. "Right before my parents died, the washer crapped out. I ordered new ones recently because if I hadn't gotten the job as your body guard, I would have moved back here. Staying in LA was not working for me since I couldn't get acting gigs and well, I wanted a fresh start," he shrugged. "Come on, I'll give you a tour."
"Leave 'em," he said as he tugged on my hand. We walked into a short hallway and down to an open kitchen. It had cherry wood floors with matching cabinets, stained in a lighter color. The appliances were stainless steel and sleek. "So, this is the kitchen. It was renovated just before my senior year of high school. My mom spent hours pouring over swatches of paint, floor samples and whatnot until this happened."
"It's nice. Warm but very trendy," I said quietly.
"It's totally my mom," Edward sighed. "She was all about showing the house. So, she spared no expense fixing this place up, renovating the kitchen and finishing the basement. It made for great parties. My senior year, whenever the parents were out of town, there was always a party at Masen's!"
"You sound bitter," I whispered, twining my fingers with his.
"I kind of am. If I could take it all back and have my parents alive, I'd do it," he said. Pulling me into the family room, which was painted in the same neutral colors as the kitchen with a brown leather sofa and warm decorations, we sat down. "I never realized how tough this was going to be."
"We can leave," I insisted.
"No. I like having you in here," he murmured, pulling me to his chest. I curled up to his warm body, idly running my fingers along his forearms.
"Why did you…?" I began. "Never mind."
"What, dolcezza?" he asked, cupping his hand around my head.
"Why did your face fall when you mentioned your childhood bedroom?" I pressed. I looked up at him and his brows knitted together. His eyes had a pained expression. "You can tell me."
"You're the first girl I ever will bring into my childhood bedroom but my parents aren't even here to bitch and moan about it," he said sadly.
" Baby," I frowned as I straddled his legs. "I'm…"
"I'm fine, Bella. It just hit me. You know?" he asked, running his hands through his hair. "Anyhow, I want to finish giving you the tour." He stood up and guided me into living room, describing what his parents had done to the house. It was truly beautiful. Despite it being vacant for nearly a decade, it still held that 'homey' feeling to it. The pictures of Edward and his family adorned the walls. It was a place where Edward and his parents loved each other.
Now, Edward's childhood home was gorgeous and big. However, it was miniscule compared to Carlisle and Esme's home in LA. We walked upstairs, Edward pointing out the different rooms. When he got to the double doors of the master suite, he shuddered.
"Edward," I murmured.
"I'm good," he said, giving me a strained crooked smile. With a deep breath, he opened the door and stood just inside a neutral but artistically decorated bedroom. "I never really came in here as a kid, but, this is my parents' bedroom."
I walked inside, toward the fireplace. On the mantle, there were pictures of Edward's parents and a younger version of Edward. He was still heartbreakingly beautiful. However, he was thinner, and a bit more gangly in his high school days. His hair was slightly longer but the most perfect shade of copper. "You're so adorable," I said as I picked up a picture of the three of them.
"I was so skinny," he chuckled, looking over my shoulder. "I was maybe a hundred-thirty pounds, soaking wet."
"Not anymore," I said as I wrapped my arms around his slender waist. "You're one big muscle now." I ran my fingers over his cheeks on the photo. "When was this taken?"
"My junior year?" he replied. "That was our Christmas card. Can't you tell by the matching, coordinated outfits?"
"Not really. Though the three of you were a beautiful family," I said. "You look like your dad but have your mom's coloring. What color were her eyes?"
"A few shades darker than mine," he replied. "With more hazel flecks. She was so beautiful."
"She was," I replied. "She looks like Esme but taller and a bit curvier."
"Yeah," Edward laughed. "My mom teased Esme all the time about her constant need to watch her weight. My mom loved her curves. So did my dad. They always were kissing and hugging."
"So do Carlisle and Esme," I offered.
"No, they always are fucking. My parents were much more 'sweet,'" Edward said as he put the picture back on the mantle. "Much like how we are when we make love."
"But you have a wicked streak, Edward," I teased, elbowing him in the ribs.
"I do have a wicked streak," he chuckled. "Despite that, all I want to do is make you feel loved, cherished, and beautiful. Just like my dad did with my mom. They had a healthy love life but their love was all-encompassing. I hope and pray that I show you how much I love you, Bella. Every day."
"You do," I whispered, standing on my tiptoes, brushing my lips against his. He held me tightly, burying his nose into my hair. His arms were crushing me to his chest, almost as if I was going to disappear. He sighed heavily, pulling back and led me out of the bedroom. He stared in the room before closing the door. He led me down a small hallway and blushed a deep red. "What's this?"
"My room. I apologize ahead of time for the immaturity of it. The last time I was in here, I was eighteen and well, going through a wrestling phase," he said nervously. "I had a man-crush on Triple H." Edward opened the door and plastered all over the walls were posters and whatnot of Triple H, Degeneration X and WWE.
"Damn. It's like the WWE threw up on your walls," I snickered.
"Shut it," he grumbled. His face was covered with a red blush. "I had a great many dreams of becoming a pro wrestler."
"Did you wrestle in high school?"I asked, arching a brow.
"No, but that's not the point," he deadpanned, pulling me into the room. "Do you mind if we stay in here? I know the bed is going to be tiny, but I can't even fathom sleeping in my parents' bed."
"I'll stay in here on one condition," I giggled.
"These damn Triple H posters have to come down, baby. They kind of squick me out," I said, looking into Edward's golden eyes. His face twitched and soon I was pressed on his bed, being tickled mercilessly. "EDWARD!"
"You are dissing my childhood idol, Swan," Edward laughed as his fingers moved along my body, slipping underneath my t-shirt. I squealed as his fingers moved along my ribcage. "Apologize to Triple H, woman, and the tickle torture will stop."
"Never," I snickered, kicking my legs, trying to stop Edward's wandering fingers. His hands moved down my leg and reached my knee. It was my Achilles' heel of all tickle torture. Whenever anyone tickled my knee, I could not be held responsible for what happened. "NO! Edward! I'll hurt you!"
"Apologize to Triple H," Edward snorted, hovering his hand over my knee. I bit my lip, trying to maneuver my body away from Edward's hand. Then, he attacked. His hand descended onto my knee and I let out a keening wail. We tumbled out of the bed and rolled around on the floor. It wasn't until Edward yelped painfully that I realized that my foot came in direct contact with his balls.
"Oh shit!" I hissed, sitting up. Edward was curled in a fetal position. He was groaning, cupping his gonads. "I'm so sorry, Edward."
"Evil. Woman," he hissed out, glowering at me.
"You know what happens when you tickle my knees," I chided, snickering lightly. "Do you want an icepack?"
He nodded and whimpered pitifully. I kissed his temple, darting downstairs to the kitchen. I swiped an icepack and a towel, heading back upstairs. Edward was on his bed. "Here," I said handing him the icepack. "I'm so sorry, baby."
"It's my own fault," he replied, taking the proffered icepack, pressing it to his manly bits with a grimace. "I know that you have no control over your body parts when you get tickled. Just be forewarned, I'm out of commission for at least a day, possibly more because of your wandering feet." I bit my lip, shooting him an apologetic look. "None of that, dolcezza. I brought this on myself. You're also right about my good friend, Triple H. He's a bit much. Help me take these down?"
"I'll get them, Edward. You ice your 'nads," I said, pushing him onto his bed. He began to argue but I shot him a look. He lay back against his pillows, holding the icepack to his poor bruised manly bits while I began taking down the wrestling posters. By the time I was finished, Edward's quiet snores filled the room and he was down for the count. I rolled up the posters, tossing them into the empty closet. Pressing a kiss to his lips, I covered him with a blanket, going downstairs to cook some dinner.
I found ingredients to make a simple but filling meal. I made some roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach. I was plating the food when Edward came downstairs, running his hands through his disheveled hair. "Smells good, dolcezza," he said his voice rough from disuse.
"I'm surprised there was food in the fridge," I said as I nodded toward the table. He opened a bottle of wine, pouring both of us a glass.
"When I knew we were coming here, I made arrangements with the company I use to clean the place to drop off some food," he said as he sat down at the kitchen table. He sipped the wine, humming contentedly.
"How's your…?" I asked, pointing to his lap.
"I'm fine," he chuckled. He put the glass down and stared at me, watching me like a hawk as I carried our meals to the table. "Sorry about crashing, Bella."
"You were emotionally spent, Edward. It's no big deal," I smiled, putting his meal in front of him. "I'd probably feel the same way if placed in the same situation. Hell, that's part of the reason why I don't go back to Forks. Well, my dad hating my guts is one of the reasons. The other being my mom."
"Your dad can't possibly hate you," Edward said as he dug into his food.
"Yes, he can. He drove all the way down from Forks after the debacle with James and Jacob, blaming me for him being placed on administrative leave because of my non-existent drug use," I snapped, poking my chicken. Edward's mouth was smashed together in a grim line. "Sorry, I don't mean to take it out on you."
"I'm not upset with you, Bella. I'm upset at your dad," Edward growled. "You get sexually assaulted and your dad blames you for his close-minded co-workers. That's a load of shit. If I ever meet up with your dad, I'd be hard-pressed to not kick his ass."
"Don't, Edward. He's not worth it," I said, reaching across the table to grasp Edward's hand. "Now, enough drama. Let's enjoy our dinner and then watch a movie, or something."
"Sounds perfect," he smiled.
xx STARLET xx
"Ang, when is this interview scheduled?" I asked, pacing in the airy kitchen. We had been at the house in Highland Park for two days. We were leaving for the Emerald City in three. Our vacation was quickly coming to a close. However, today was going to be tough. Very tough. Today, we were going to the cemetery to visit Edward's parents. He wanted to apologize for some strange reason. He also wanted to introduce me. He was a nervous wreck before we went to bed the night before in his tiny bed. He was still asleep in his bedroom, sleeping fitfully.
My cell phone had begun ringing early this dreary, rainy morning. The first phone call was Angela, wanting to send me an updated filming schedule. I told her to email it to me. The second phone call was Carlisle, again, wanting to send an updated filming schedule. Email, Carlisle. It's a wonderful thing. No phone calls at eight in the morning. He also wanted to speak with Edward but I explained that Edward wasn't feeling well and would call once he woke up. Lies, but Carlisle doesn't need to know that…The third phone call was Eleazar with information about Jacob and James. Nothing new there, except the possibility of their case being thrown out due to insufficient evidence. What the fuck ever. Totally expected that. The final phone call, the one that I'm currently on, is again with Angela. She wanted me to give an interview to People and Entertainment Weekly regarding some lies that Jacob was spreading about me. It wasn't anything career ruining but each week, he was coming out with some new 'tidbit' about my sordid life. That information was new. I was freaking out. Slightly…
"The interview is going to happen once you get to Seattle. You're going to tell them about your life. Don't sugarcoat it. You're also going to say how you turned your life around, breaking all ties with Jacob who led down this dark path. Happiness, true love and stability and all that crap," Angela said, her fingers flying on the computer keyboard. The sounds of her nails hitting the keys were barely discernible over the phone, but I could hear them. "It's going to happen at the Hotel Monaco."
"I'm staying at the Alexis," I replied, slightly confused why the interview was located at a different location from where I was staying.
"I know. I want to have the interview happen at a separate hotel to give the press some confusion. Not too bright some of those vultures," Angela snickered. "Anyhow, you and Edward are booked to leave from Chicago in three days. I've arranged for you two to have adjacent rooms."
"Smart woman," I said. "You would have been smarter in giving us the same room."
"I try. Carlisle explicitly said that he didn't want you sharing a room. But he didn't say that you couldn't have adult sleepovers," she giggled. "Anyhow, it's freezing up here in Seattle. Alice, Esme and Tanya have already began buying you an entire winter wardrobe."
"How is Tanya?" I asked, grimacing at the prospect of another enemy.
"Really, really sweet," Angela gushed. "She's been nothing but respectful and awesome. She's slightly star struck with all of the other costars. I like her. So does the rest of the cast. We're almost done with the reshoots with Tanya. We only have to do the shots with you and Edward. We'll do those once you get up here. It'll take about a week. Then three more weeks and you're done!"
"When's the wrap party?" I asked.
"The week after you get back from doing press for Snow White," Angela replied. "I got your press requirements. Starting with the premier in LA, you've got ten countries and fifteen days."
"Damn," I grumbled. "Can you make arrangements for Edward, too?"
"I've already done that. However, he may be needed for reshoots and will have to go if need be," Angela chided. "Anyhow, I wanted to let you know about the situation with the interviews, a statement about what happened with James and Jacob, and coming clean about what Jacob's been saying."
"My attorney already told me," I sighed. "They're getting off?"
"Yep. Bastards," Angela spat. "Keep an eye out for them. I don't trust them. At. All. I also don't trust Rose, either. She's been sniffing up the wrong tree."
"Has she tried to talk to Emmett?"
"No, but the divorce was fast-tracked. They are no longer legally married. Emmett's even trying to get the damn thing annulled," Angela snorted. "Seriously, Bells. Things are looking better but something's cooking. Don't trust anyone. Edward, yes. Me…definitely. Any one of the Cullens, they're okay. But the rest of Hollywood? No way in hell."
"I'll keep my eyes peeled. I'll give you a call when we're at the airport, Ang. Thanks for everything," I said sincerely, rubbing my chest absent-mindedly. The empty feeling of foreboding filled me to my very bones.
"You're welcome, Bella. Enjoy the last few days of your vacation," she said. "See you in Seattle." I hung up the phone and began making breakfast for Edward. It was still silent in the house, so he was still asleep. A short time later, as I was putting the eggs and sausage onto plates, Edward walked downstairs. His hair was sticking up every which way. He was shirtless and thoroughly disheveled. Not to mention, sexy as hell.
"Morning," he said gruffly. He padded toward me, wrapping his strong arms around my waist. His nose burrowed into my neck. "The bed was empty without you, dolcezza. I need you today." His grip tightened around my body.
"I know, baby," I soothed. "But the phone would not stop ringing. So, I got up so I wouldn't disturb you." He pouted, bending down to pick me up. He placed me on the island counter, clinging to me like I was going to leave him. "Hey, are you okay?" He shook his head, pulling me tighter to his warm body. "I'm not going anywhere, Edward. I'm with you every step of the way."
"I know. I'm just…" he mumbled against my shoulder. He kissed my neck, moving languidly up to my jaw. He pulled back and for the first time I saw the extreme sadness in his eyes. Storm clouds were swirling in his ochre orbs. Tears were threatening to spill onto his cheeks. It was heartbreaking to see. "I miss them. So much, Bella. Being here and not hearing them talk, bicker and love each other has been very tough for me. Today? Going to their grave is…something I have to do, but once it's done, Chicago will never be home. It hasn't been home for awhile, but now, it's official."
"Edward, what you've gone through is incredibly sad but today doesn't have to be," I said, taking his face in my hands. "Celebrate their life. Celebrate your accomplishments. Show your parents the intelligent, handsome, wonderful man you've become. Plus, give your girlfriend a tour of your hometown. Show me where you lost your virginity, where you had your first kiss…" He chuckled, leaning down to kiss me. "How does that sound?"
"Good," he said meekly, leaning his forehead to touch mine. "I'm sorry about being an emotional wreck."
"You have every right to be," I said as I ran my fingers through his hair. I giggled. "You need a touch up."
"I noticed that last night," he grumbled. "It's weird seeing roots. I'm assuming that they'll attack my head once we get to Seattle, right?"
"You're correct," I said as I kissed his nose. "Now, I have breakfast for you. I'm going to shower and make myself look decent. Then, you can take me a tour of your hometown before we visit your parents, okay?"
"Aren't you going to eat?" Edward pouted.
"I nibbled as I cooked. You eat. Well, help me down first and then eat," I giggled. He smiled, kissing my lips sweetly before placing me on the hardwood floor. I gently swatted his ass before I darted up the stairs to the bathroom. I showered quickly and put on a light amount of makeup. I twisted my hair into a messy up-do, away from my face and walked into Edward's bedroom. I noticed his suit was hanging on the door of the closet. I slid inside the closet and pulled on a pair of black dress pants, a charcoal gray blouse and a pair of black patent leather heels. As I finished putting on my jewelry, Edward walked into the room in just a towel.
Restrain yourself, Swan.
"You look beautiful, Bella," Edward breathed when he saw me.
"So do you," I replied cheekily, tugging on his towel.
"Insatiable," he snorted.
"So?" I quipped, fluttering my eyelashes. He rolled his eyes and pulled up a pair of boxer briefs under the towel, whipping it off his body. Damn. "Did you do the dishes?"
"In the dishwasher, dolcezza," he replied as he put on his black pants. "I also sent a message to the caretakers to empty out the fridge once we leave." He took the white button-down shirt from the hanger and stared at me. "I think I'm going to sell this place."
"Yeah," he said as he put his shirt on, buttoning the tiny buttons. "I needed to do this to finally say good bye. Chicago will never be my home. My home is with you, dolcezza."
"What?" I whispered.
"You. You're my home, Bella," he said as he crossed over to me. "The past few days have been trying at best and you've been nothing but patient, loving and perfect." He reached into his pants pocket, taking out a small leather box. "It's not much. You're used to diamonds by Neil Lane but I wanted to get you something…"
"You didn't have to," I murmured.
"I know, but I wanted to," he said, giving me a crooked smile. "Please?"
I bit my lip and took the proffered box, opening it gingerly. Nestled inside was a beautiful diamond bracelet with an infinity pattern. I may have been used to Neil Lane diamonds and expensive, gaudy jewelry, but this was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. Well, other than Edward. "So exquisite," I whispered. "Put it on for me?"
He smiled and removed the bracelet, unhinging it. He carefully placed it around my left wrist. Twisting my hand over, her kissed my pulse point, giving me a boyish smile. "Shelly said that it would suit you."
"Who's Shelly?" I asked.
"The woman who sold me the bracelet," he chuckled. "She said that all women love sparkles. Her fingers were adorned with some of the tackiest cocktail rings but it fit her. I was hesitant to purchase something from her but when she pulled this out, I knew. Do you know what this symbol is?"
"An infinity symbol," I answered. I looked up at him, trying to understand what he was trying to say."
"According to , the word infinity means 'the quality or state of being infinite; something that is infinite; infinite space, time or quantity; an infinite extent, amount, or number; or an indefinite great amount or number.' A synonym is eternity," he said looking at me, staring into my eyes. I blinked, tears beginning to fall down my cheeks. "When I close my eyes, I dream of an infinite amount of time with you. An eternity isn't long enough, Bella. This is my promise to you that I don't ever want to be without you. I love you, dolcezza. Today, I'm introducing you to my parents as my girlfriend but also as the woman that I want to marry."
I tore my eyes from the bracelet and gazed into Edward's warm golden eyes. Behind them, there was trepidation and excitement. I blinked a few times before throwing my arms around his neck. My mouth was attached to his. He laughed as we fell onto the tiny full-sized bed. We laughed heartily as I thanked him for his love. The bracelet, while absolutely gorgeous, was not what I kissing him for. The sentiment behind it meant the world to me.
"I take it you like the bracelet?" Edward asked as he leaned up on his elbows. I was astride his waist; waving my hand and watching the stones glisten under the ceiling fan.
"The bracelet is lovely, but the words behind it mean more than anything," I said as I lowered my arm, caressing his slightly scruffy cheek. "Now, I'm going to kiss you one more time before I get up to let you finish getting ready. If I don't, we won't leave this house and we'll spend the day, naked between those sheets, doing wrestling moves that Triple H would be jealous of."
"Oh, he's jealous. He doesn't have you," Edward growled as he pulled me to his mouth, plunging his tongue between my lips. We lost ourselves to our love and kisses until I wriggled away from him. "But…?"
"No buts. I want a tour of the beautiful town of Highland Park," I smirked, slipping on my heels and straightening my hair. He scowled at me but nodded. I went downstairs, found my black trench coat and a gray scarf. It was definitely colder in Chicago, nothing like LA.
Edward came downstairs ten minutes later, dressed in his black suit with a gray tie. He was adjusting his cufflinks nervously. He looked at me, giving me a pained smile. I walked over to him, twining my fingers with his. "I'm with you, Edward. I'm not going anywhere. Eternity, remember?"
"And beyond," he said, softly kissing me. "Come on. You're going to get the tour from when I was a wee tot to high school." We walked into the garage. Gallantly, Edward helped me into the passenger side and jogged to the driver's side. He backed out of the garage and drove away from the house. "We lived in this neighborhood for as long as I could remember. My dad was a lawyer and my mom was a professor at one of the local community colleges. She taught acting," he chuckled. "She got bit by the acting bug early but didn't have the same drive as my aunt and she studied it relentlessly, getting bit parts in Community Theater and directing high school productions of the classics: Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and her personal favorite, A Midsummer's Night Dream." Edward pulled into a parking spot in front of a building that looked more like a high-end resort. "This is my elementary school, Braeside Elementary. The kids are off today because of Columbus Day or some random day off. I spoke with the principal, who happened to be a classmate of mine and she said that we could go in."
"Oh," I whispered. We got out and were greeted by a woman who was a few years old than Edward.
"Ari," Edward said as he hugged her.
"Eddie," she laughed, clapping his shoulder. "You look good. So different from a decade ago." She ruffled his dark locks. "And it's Dr. Makropolus, now."
"Oooh, all important-like," Edward chuckled. "Does your husband call you that in bed?"
"Sometimes," she quipped. With a warm smile, she turned to me. "Hi, I'm Dr. Ariadne Makropolus, principal of Braeside Elementary. All of my friends and this jackass call me Ari."
"Bella Swan," I said, shaking her hand.
"I know," Ari smirked. "I'm a huge fan of yours. I loved you in Metropolis. Damn sexy, woman. Let me tell you, you're on my list."
"Ari," Edward hissed.
"Shush, you're on it, too," Ari laughed. "The list of freebies that my hubby would allow me to have sex with without any repercussions. Sexual orientation, notwithstanding."
"Who else is on this list?" I asked, arching a brow as Ari led us inside of the state of the art elementary school.
"I've got five men and five women," Ari replied. "You're number one. You're hot and sweet; a lethal combination. It's no wonder why Eddie loves you."
"Ari, remind me to kick your ass," Edward grumbled, crossing his arms over his chest petulantly.
"You try it, Masen, and I'll tell your girlfriend at your sad attempt at trying to lose your v-card with me," Ari snorted. "Back to my list…Esme Cullen. She's got this cougar, commanding quality that makes me want to lick her…"
"ARI! That's my aunt!" Edward groaned, plopping down on some stairs. "I'm scarred, woman. Scarred. And the fact that I'm on this same proverbial list kind of terrifies me. Can you stop, please? I'm losing my sanity here, Ari."
"Fine," she laughed, hugging Edward slightly. "Stay as long as you like. I'm here all day, preparing for our first round of Discovery testing which is this coming week." We both looked at her blankly. "Teacher-speak for standardizing testing so we can stay in this state-of-art building. Damn bureaucratic bullshit, if you ask me. Later!" Ari slipped into the office and we stood in the foyer of the school.
"She's a hoot," I laughed.
"I hate her guts," Edward deadpanned. "But, she makes me laugh. She was one of the few people who didn't treat me like a leper when my parents died. We stayed in contact all this time. I stood up for her wedding. On her side. She tried to make me wear a dress."
"I would have paid money to see that," I giggled, sitting down next to him.
"I fought tooth and nail. I got to wear a tuxedo but was paired up with Ari's very gay brother, Alexi, who tried to cop a feel of my ass all night long," Edward sighed. "Which, in retrospect was a good thing; Ari's cousins were looking at me like I was a steak or something. But, seeing me with Alexi, kept them at bay. They thought I was gay."
"Is she older than you?"
"By three years," Edward answered. "She lived in the house kiddy-corner from where we're staying until her dad passed away from a heart attack. They moved closer to Ari's grandmother. And yes, we did try dating for awhile. Unsuccessfully, I tried to cash in v-card when I was a sophomore with her but Ari laughed at me. She said that it was like kissing her brother and she couldn't do it. I couldn't do it either. So, I waited until college."
"Did you and Ari break up after the failed attempt?" I asked as he laced his fingers with mine.
"No. Ari didn't want to spend her senior year missing out on the important things in high school like prom, homecoming and such. We hung out and pretended like we were a couple, but we were just really good friends. After she graduated, we 'broke up' and I spent the rest of my high school days floating from meaningless relationship to meaningless relationship." We stopped in front of a classroom. "This is the music room. Besides gym, it was my favorite class in elementary school."
"This is an awesome music room," I said as I walked inside. The walls were covered with music posters, colorful paintings of the composers, music vocabulary words and the classroom incentive charts. Scattered all around the floor were various instruments and a large rainbow circular rug. Just off to the side of the rug, there was a black upright piano.
"It's the reason why we're here," he said as he took my hand. He led me to the piano, sitting down on the bench. "Sit next to me, dolcezza. I have something that I want you to hear. Now, I'm not a concert pianist by any stretch of the imagination but I do dabble. I've been writing this since I met you two and half years ago. So, um, please don't laugh at me."
"I could never laugh at you, Edward," I frowned. "You're doing something that I wish I could do. I'm completely tone deaf."
"I love you, baby, but you are," Edward snorted, kissing my lips softly. I glowered at him as he flipped open the keyboard.
"Why are you doing this here?" I asked.
"I had a tantrum after my parents died and trashed my grand piano. I wanted to do it at the high school since they have a Steinway, but I don't have the same connections to my alma mater," Edward chuckled. "So, you'll have to hear my piece de la resistance on a slightly out of tune Yamaha." He ran his fingers up and down the keys, smirking adorably.
There was a quiet 'ding-dong' sound that reverberated in the classroom. "NO FUCKING IN MY MUSIC ROOM, MASEN! Play your song but at least wait until you get home before you ravish each other."
"Big brother's watching over us," I giggled.
"I get it, Ari," Edward yelled at the intercom.
"I don't want to have to call in my custodian and explain the dried spunk on the piano. This is an institution of LEARNING, Edward. Young minds are harnessed and taught here," Ari laughed. "No boning on the piano!"
"Say goodbye, Ari," Edward barked. She huffed and the intercom clicked off. "Sorry about that. Kind of ruined the moment."
"No, it didn't," I laughed. "It made it even more memorable. Wow me with your piano chops, Liberace." Edward wrinkled his nose and laid his hands on top of the keys. With a nervous breath, he began moving his long fingers along the black and white keys of the piano. It started simply with just a few chords but grew in intensity very quickly. Edward's eyes were closed and his whole body swayed with the movement of the music being emanated from his soul. Tears were pouring out of my eyes unabated as his fingers rolled along the keys. Never in all of my life had I heard such a beautiful piece of music.
The harmonies were simple but romantic. The flowing melody seamlessly wove itself to heartbreaking beautiful moments and sounds of love, loss and frustration. I turned to look at Edward and he was concentrating on the keys. However, his face was covered with tears. With a flourish, the sound of the piano grew louder until the opening phrase was played in the upper register of the piano. With one lingering note, Edward removed his hands from the keyboard, looking down at his lap.
Tenderly, I reached up and wiped an errant tear from his cheek. He took a ragged breath, leaning into my palm. "I haven't played since my parents' death. I figured out the melody on a guitar and went from there," he murmured. "You're the first person that has heard me play since…since…" he sobbed. He wiped his cheeks, staring at me. "Since my mom. You mean so much to me, Bella. I hope you know that. I will never let you go without a fight."
"Me, too," I whispered, staring into his eyes.
"I love you," he choked out, one more tear falling from his eyes.
"I love you more," I breathed, pressing my mouth to his. Our mouths were moving hungrily against each other. It was like we had to be closer. The barrier of our clothes, skin and the damn school was too much. "We need to stop," I frowned, pressing my hands against his broad shoulders.
"I know," he panted out. "Damn my temper. I would have rather done this at my house. But me in my teenage angst, trashing my piano…I want you so badly, dolcezza. So, I could, you know…make love to you. God only knows how badly I want to right now."
"Ari would kick our asses and we'd be labeled sex offenders," I giggled.
"You're right," Edward growled playfully. "Did you like it? The song?" His eyes grew somber and nervous as he looked at me.
"I loved it," I replied, wrapping my arms around his neck. "So much that I'd love to have you record it so I can listen to it whenever I want. Please?"
"Well?" Edward squeaked. "I can try. Don't get all pissy if it takes me forever to get it right. I'm a bit of a perfectionist."
"Whenever, baby," I smiled, pressing a sweet kiss to his lips. "Where to next?"
"The high school. We can't go inside, but we can at least swing by so you can see where I had almost all of my most embarrassing moments," he snorted.
"Care to share with the class?" I asked as Edward helped me into my coat.
"In the car, Swan," he chuckled. He turned off the lights and we left the classroom. Before we left the school, Edward poked his head in the main office, saying good bye to Ari. We left the elementary school and drove to the high school. We parked and he began telling me stories about his high school days.
Edward had always fallen in with the popular crowd but he had the brains of a 'nerd.' He played football and baseball, lettering in the latter. In his sophomore year, Edward had taken a particularly rough hit and he hung up his football cleats after that. He was also involved in the newspaper, speech team, debate team, National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society and rallied to get Italian added to the World Languages department. However, despite all of that, Edward loved the theater and enjoyed acting on stage. He didn't participate when he was a freshman but auditioned for every production after that. There was no role too small. Hell, even the productions he didn't get cast in, he helped out on the crew, learning the technical aspect of the theater.
After an hour and half and talking in the SUV, we were approached by a police officer. Apparently our conversation was garnering some stress in the main office of the high school. The cop was another classmate of Edward's. When he realized who it was and such, we were able to leave without any incident. Plus, we took a picture with the cop who was fan of mine and now, subsequently of Edward, due to the Midnight Dawn movies.
Leaving the high school parking lot, Edward headed into downtown Highland Park. It was very chic and trendy, located not far from Chicago and stone's throw away from Lake Michigan. All in all, it was a very safe and happy place to grow up.
Now, this trip down memory lane was great for me but I could tell that Edward was stalling. He was hesitant to go the cemetery. We both knew that the cemetery closed at dusk. It was nearly two now. We only had a few short hours before he could go see his parents.
"Edward?" I murmured as he idly drove around Highland Park. His hand was clenched around mine. "I know what you're doing."
"I know," he sighed. "It seems like this my final goodbye to them. I mean, the house is going to go on the market as soon as we leave…"
"Just because you're selling the house doesn't mean that you can't come back to visit," I soothed. "Your memories here will always be with you. Your parents will always love you, even though they are no longer here."
"You're right," he said, turning to look at me, smiling sadly. He began guiding the car away from the downtown Highland Park area and more toward where his childhood home was located. However, he turned the opposite direction once he got to his street. Twenty minutes later we pulled into an older cemetery. Navigating the twists and turns, Edward parked the SUV in front of a large headstone. His last name was etched in the dark granite with the names of his parents underneath.
"Do you want some time alone?" I asked.
"Not long. I promise," he said as he picked up my hand, kissing it gently. He hopped out and grabbed something from the back of the SUV. As he walked slowly toward the headstone, I noticed it was a very ornate and beautiful bouquet of flowers. He placed it at the headstone, making the sign of the cross before kneeling on the ground. I watched him as he sat in front of the headstone. He looked like he was crying but I didn't want to interrupt his time with his parents.
Edward turned and he looked at me in the car. I took that as my cue. I opened the car door and walked toward him. His hand grasped mine once I reached him. He pulled me down on the ground, crushing me to his chest. "Mom, Dad, I want to introduce someone very special to me," he said to the gravestone. "This is Isabella Swan."
"Hello," I said meekly. "It's nice to finally meet you." I kissed my fingertips and touched the cold granite. "Edward's told me wonderful things about you and I can tell you that he is an amazing man. I'm so lucky to have him in my life as my best friend and so much more." Edward pressed a kiss to my temple. "I really wish that I could have met you. Edward is so blessed to have you as his parents." He let out a quiet sob against my hair. "I love him with everything that I am and I promise to never, ever hurt him." I nestled back in this embrace as Edward cried. I soothed him, letting him get out his emotions.
"I hope you approve of her," Edward rasped out. "She's going to be your daughter-in-law. I want to marry her, Mom and Dad. I love her very much and…" He turned to me, kissing me softly. "She's my future."
"Our future," I said, kissing his nose.
"Right," he chuckled. Turning back to the gravestone, he sighed. "I might not be back for awhile but I promise I'll be back soon. I'm selling the house. It's not home anymore. Despite that, I'll still come and visit. Anyhow, I love you both and I miss you every day." He leaned down and kissed the gravestone. "I'll see you soon."
"Thank you for having Edward. I promise to take good care of him," I vowed. "Always. Infinitely."
"I promise to love and care for you, Bella. For all eternity," he murmured. With a sweet kiss, we got up from the cold, wet ground and walked to the car. The heaviness of the day had lightened and together, Edward and I would be a stronger couple. Forever.
For all eternity.
A/N: No, it's not the end. This chapter was tough to write. Well, for a couple of reasons. Reason one is that my best friend's husband just passed and dealing with death (no matter how it's handled, fictional or real) is a bit raw right now. Reason two is that I've been sick and writing while being delirious is not advisable. If there are parts that don't make sense, blame the fever. (I've edited and such, but still…you never know). I wanted to add a lemon but as I was writing this, where I ended it made sense.
Anyhow, pictures of Highland Park, Illinois and such are on my blog along with the song that Edward played for Bella at his elementary school. Link for my blog is on my profile. Also, find me on Facebook: Tufano79's Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation and on twitter: tufano79. Leave me some lovin!